Manila, 1600

  • Given the honorific insigne y leal by the royal decree of 20 May 1574 and later constituted capital in 1595, Manila was the crucible where colonial architecture was forged. Here was the laboratory where through trial and error and disaster — principally incendio, hurracan y terremoto (fire, typhoon, and earthquake), the unique shape of Hispanic architecture in the Philippines evolved. By 1600, Antonio de Morga described a city that was completely surrounded by a wall, which incorporated the tower Sedeño had built. The cathedral was in stone; the Jesuit church and convent were in stone, so were the Dominicans’. The Augustinian church was being completed in stone and the Franciscan church was being repaired after suffering damage. He mentions three hospitals in Intramuros and the Colegio de Santa Potenciana with its stone enclosure and stone church dedicated to San Andres. He mentions about 600 houses, many in stone and some in wood with tile or thatch roof and many more being constructed.

— Fr. René B. Javellana, SJ, La Casa de Dios

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